Sales Low, Possibilities High A Few Hurdles Remain to Robust Electric Car Sales

Jackie Eskin, a computer consultant, enjoys people asking her about her Nissan Leaf. But sales of electric cars such as the Leaf, and hybrid models with gas and electric, totaled only 3-4% of car sales through the first eight months of the year, according to Edwin Stafford, marketing professor at Utah State University.

A couple hurdles are keeping consumers from making the leap to electric vehicles (EVs), even if they overcome “range anxiety”: lack of charging stations and the price of the cars. Federal tax credits up to $7,500 and state credits may be available to ease prices, and Eskin says she discovered two charging stations at her local Whole Foods in Fairfield, Connecticut, and uses her GPS to find others

Since January of 2012 through October 17, Nissan Motor Co. sold just 9,764 electric Leafs and General Motors just 7,671 Chevrolet Volts, a very small percent of the 12.8 million light-vehicle market.

But Brian Wynne, president of the Electric Drive Transport Association (EDTA), can personally attest to their benefits. “I don’t go to a gas station,” he says (he drives a Volt, and charges it daily). When the Volt’s electricity is used up, the car switches to gas. Wynne commutes about 50 miles daily. The cost of electricity is two to three cents a mile, the equivalent of $1 per gallon of gas, he says

Some positive signs? Tesla, one of the highest priced car manufacturers, expects to produce a new car around 2016 that will be priced at $30,000 according to a spokesperson. And AeroVironment is selling a portable version of its 240-volt EV home charger on Amazon for just under $1,000. The company is also building charging stations along Interstate 5 in Oregon and Washington. Car rental companies have caught on, too. Both Hertz and Enterprise offer electric car rentals.